Alex Martick is a character like his late brother, Morris, one of Baltimore's great treasures, a Charm City native not soon to be forgotten. ("Baby of the Family," City Folk, Nov. 14)

Rafael Alvarez has a unique way of characterizing gems like these that make our city the wonderful, people-centric town it is-despite the crime, a truly terrific place to live. You should feature more of his work.

Alan Z. Forman



Remember the Pioneers

Thank you for covering the opposition to building the youth jail in Baltimore and to to the social policies that prioritize incarceration over education that it represents. ("Jesse Jackson Rallies Against Youth Jail,"

, Nov. 14)

However, contrary to your implication in this week's article as well as last week's "Power Rankings" that Occupy Baltimore was an early driver of this opposition, the struggle against the youth jail predates even the existence of Occupy Baltimore, spearheaded by African-American youth-led organizations such as the Baltimore Algebra Project and Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. The Algebra Project has been working against the youth jail since 2010 and helped organize a well-attended protest at the potential construction site in March 2010. The fact that the jail has been forestalled this long can be credited in large part to the hard work of these grassroots organizations and activists over the past several years.

When members of Occupy Baltimore got involved in the fight against youth-jail construction, they knew they were joining a struggle and a coalition already in place. They wanted to take advantage of the media focus on Occupy Baltimore to attract additional attention on the campaign-and also on the activists and the organizations at the forefront of the work. Apparently they failed at that last part.

Sometimes it seems as if exciting grassroots political action in this majority African-American city doesn't get covered by

City Paper

until white folks get involved. Both the Baltimore Algebra Project and the Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle would be great subjects for future

City Paper


Jonathan Rochkind


Dollars and Spence

The article about professor Lester Spence was and is short-sighted ("Democracy Now,"

, Oct. 29). When he, Lester Spence, talks about the black community, it made me wonder: Where is the black community? It is the black middle class such as him and the rich ones who have abandoned the black community for diversity. The majority of them don't put a dollar back into the communities they came from. Julian Bond, a former chairman of the NAACP, stated that the only black ball player who donates to the NAACP is Kobe Bryant, which is outrageous. These days we get a lot of "blaw blaw blaw" from blacks like Lester Spence that is not going to help anyone.


Leo A. Williams


The Dog of Small Things

"Eastghostcom" commented on your Halloween issue ("Bew, Hon,"

, Oct. 24), pointing out that ghostlike forms have been created in lab experiments involving "electrostatic and magnetic fields." That is true and can be made to cast doubt on the reality of hauntings or at least the idea that ghosts/haunts support the idea that something-call it the "soul"-survives physical death.

Science, nowadays, replicates lots of natural stuff, including hauntings. It seems that the soul, or whatever hauntings are, has an electromagnetic component or is an electromagnetic entity.

This does NOT disprove or credibly weaken the "soul" idea, because few, if any, of the thousands of reported hauntings took place in the presence of electrostatic or magnetic apparatuses. The Pratt library had, mid-1970s, about 15 books of "ghosts." Back then, my neighbor called my attention to a haunting in my garage-or, rather, my mother's garage, as I was then a closet-gay mama's boy living with her at a fully adult age.

Our next-door neighbors on one side were a West Virginia family of Scottish origin as the salt of the earth. My noticeable gayness was no issue with them, nor do I suspect them of fantasizing. For about a month, I harbored a stray dog in that otherwise vacant garage. It was a Great Dane mix I'd met a few blocks away. The animal was mostly bald and just skin and bones but I thought I could fatten it up to health and find it a good home. We had a police dog Belgian Shepherd and he fought the new, also male dog, so I could only keep the stray in the garage.

This bald, bony, amiable canine giant, alas, followed some kids to Roosevelt Rec in mid-Hampden and got nabbed by Animal Control. The so-called "animal shelter" at that time immediately killed all "non-adoptable" animals, and my friend was no exception.

About a week after the stray disappeared, I was in my yard, tending the tomatoes, and the lady next door asked me if I had another dog in the garage. She, on two separate days, heard a dog whining and whimpering there. I had no such new dog and had locked the garage after hearing of the big dog's capture.

Then, as now, I had no electromagnetic equipment and I doubt my neighbors had brought any from West Virginia. The several books on hauntings I've consulted note that stressful/violent deaths are a big percentage of hauntings and that hauntings are apt to occur in places dear to the haunting being. Like this animal's last refuge was.

Thomas L. Fox


Editor's Note: Due to changes in our publishing schedule, the winners of City Paper's 14th annual Short Fiction Contest and 13th annual Poetry Contest will be announced and published in Issue 50, which comes out Dec. 19.